Alphabetical Plant Listing

18 Best Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

Place these mosquito-repellent plants in containers on patios, porches, or seating areas where you want a mosquito-free zone

Mosquitoes are small, flying insects that are known for their long, slender bodies and their long, proboscis-like mouthparts, which they use to feed on the blood of humans and other animals. Mosquitoes are considered to be one of the deadliest animals in the world due to their ability to transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and the Zika virus to humans.

There are several plants that are known to have mosquito-repelling properties. Standing near them is, however, not sufficient enough to get protected from mosquito bites. The mosquito-repellent compounds in the plants need to be released to unleash their qualities. Depending on the plant species, they can be released by either crushing, drying, or infusing the leaves into an oil or alcohol base that can be applied to the skin. Others can be burned to release their essential oils in a cloud of smoke.

  1. 1. Plant mosquito-repelling plants, such as citronella, lemon eucalyptus, catnip, and marigolds, in your garden or around your outdoor living spaces to create a natural barrier against mosquitoes.

  2. 2. Crush the leaves of mosquito-repellent plants, such as lemon balm, basil, lavender, and lemongrass, and rubbing them on your skin can help to repel mosquitoes. Remember to always use caution when using essential oils and never apply them directly to your skin without diluting them first.

  3. 3. Use essential oils derived from mosquito-repellent plants, such as citronella, lemon eucalyptus, and lavender. They can be used in diffusers, sprays, and lotions to create a protective barrier against mosquitoes.

  4. 4. Burn dried mosquito-repelling plants. Burning candles made with mosquito-repellent oils, such as citronella and lemongrass, can help to create an insect-free zone in your outdoor living space.

Do Mosquito-Repellent Plants really work?

Mosquito-repellent plants can have some effect in deterring mosquitoes, but they are not a guaranteed solution to prevent mosquito bites. The effectiveness of a mosquito-repelling plant can vary based on several factors, such as the type of plant, its location, the amount of plant material used, and the presence of other attractants (e.g., standing water, food sources).

It is always recommended to use additional measures to prevent mosquito bites, such as wearing protective clothing and using approved insect repellents.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is a popular herb that is widely used in cooking, especially in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Growing basil in your garden has many benefits. In addition to being a delicious and versatile herb, basil is also known to have natural insect-repelling properties. The strong scent of basil is said to repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Additionally, planting basil in your garden can also attract beneficial insects, such as bees and butterflies, which help pollinate your plants.

Basil can also be grown as a companion plant with vegetables and other herbs, which is said to improve their growth and flavor.

It is easy to grow in a garden and can be planted in pots or in the ground. Basil prefers full sun and well-drained soil and should be watered regularly.

Basil, Ocimum basilicum, Sweet Basil

Bee Balm (Monarda)

Monarda, also known as bee balm, bergamot, or horsemint, is a flowering plant native to North America that is prized for its showy flowers, which are typically pink, lavender, purple, or red, and for their fragrant foliage. Monarda plants are typically grown for ornamental purposes, although some species have been used for medicinal purposes in traditional Native American medicine. The leaves of certain species of Monarda can also be used to make tea or as a flavoring in cooking.

There is some evidence that suggests that monarda may have insect-repelling properties, including against mosquitoes. The essential oils of Monarda bradburiana and Monarda fistulosa showed good repellent activity against the yellow fever Mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Monarda plants are relatively easy to grow. They prefer well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade and are hardy in USDA zones 4-9. Monarda is attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators and is a great choice for gardeners who want to support local pollinator populations.

 Monarda, Bee Balm, Bergamot, Horsemint, Fragrant perennials, Mildew resistant perennials, monarda didyma

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula is native to the Mediterranean region but is widely cultivated in many other parts of the world for its bright and showy flowers.

Calendula is often grown in gardens for ornamental purposes, but it also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Calendula is said to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and wound-healing properties and is used in many topical preparations for the skin.

In addition to its medicinal properties, calendula is also known to have insect-repelling properties, making it a great addition to a garden for natural pest control. The strong scent of calendula is said to repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. To use calendula as a natural insect repellent, you can plant it near outdoor living areas or crush the leaves and rub them on your skin.

Calendula is an easy-to-grow plant that prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It will bloom from spring through fall.

Pot Marigold, English Marigold, Poet's Marigold, Common Marigold, Scotch Marigold, Calendula officinalis

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip is a vigorous perennial forming a spreading clump of branched stems with aromatic, gray-green, toothed leaves. From late spring to early fall, they are topped with long, dense spikes of small white flowers spotted with violet.

Catnip is well-known for its effects on cats, who become very playful and affectionate when they smell it. However, catnip is also used for its potential health benefits in humans, including its use as a natural remedy for digestive issues, headaches, and insomnia.

In addition to its potential health benefits, catnip is also known to have natural mosquito-repelling properties. The essential oil found in catnip contains nepetalactone, which is a strong mosquito repellent. In fact, catnip is said to be 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, a common ingredient in commercial insect repellents.

Catnip is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant that prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained soil.

Catmint, Catnep, Catnip, Cat in Clover, Cat's Heal-All

Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)

Citronella Grass is a tropical, clump-forming, evergreen grass with long, thin, bright green leaves with a citronella-like fragrance when crushed. The plant produces clusters of small, creamy-white flowers on spikes that rise above the foliage.

Citronella Grass is best known for its insect-repelling properties, particularly against mosquitoes. The essential oils extracted from the plant's leaves and stems contain compounds known to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. The oils are commonly used in various products, such as candles, sprays, and lotions, to provide outdoor protection against mosquito bites.

Citronella Grass is typically grown in USDA hardiness zones 10-12 and will not tolerate temperatures below 32°F (0°C). In areas with colder climates, Citronella Grass can be grown as an annual or as a potted plant that can be brought indoors during the winter months.

Cymbopogon nardus, Citronella Grass, Ceylon Citronella, Mosquito repellent plant


Eucalyptus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. It is native to Australia but has been introduced to many other countries as a source of timber, fuel, and medicinal oils. There are over 700 species of eucalypts, ranging in size from shrubs to tall trees. They are known for their distinctive, aromatic leaves and their ability to grow in a variety of habitats, including arid and disturbed lands.

Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora or Corymbia citriodora) is known for its strong lemon-scented leaves and attractive bark. It is also used for its essential oil, which is used in perfumes, soaps, and other products. Research has shown that many plant extracts and oils derived from Lemon Eucalyptus have strong repellent properties against mosquitoes, with their effect lasting from several minutes to several hours.

Lemon-Scented Gum, Citron-Scented Gum, Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus citriodora

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic is a species of flowering plant in the Allium genus, which also includes onions, leeks, and chives. It is widely used in cooking as a flavorful and aromatic spice and has also been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, garlic is also known for its insect-repelling properties and can be used as a natural insecticide to protect other plants in your garden. Garlic has long been used as a natural insect repellent, including against mosquitoes. The strong smell of garlic is thought to be unpleasant to mosquitoes and other insects and can help to keep them away from treated areas.

Garlic can also be used in companion planting to help deter pests and diseases in other plants.

Cold-hardy (USDA zones 4-9), garlic prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil.

Garlic, Churl's Treacle, Clown's Treacle, Common Garlic, Poor Man's Treacle, Stinking Rose, Rustic Treacle, Camphor of the Poor, Nectar of the Gods, Serpent Garlic, Rocambole

Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated in many other areas for its fragrant and attractive flowers and essential oils. It is known for its relaxing and soothing properties and is used in aromatherapy, skincare products, and as a natural remedy for various health conditions. Lavender is also famous as an ornamental plant and is widely used in gardens and as a potted plant.

Lavender is known to have insect-repelling properties and is sometimes used to repel pests such as moths, flies, codling moths, and mosquitoes.

This fragrant and attractive herb is easy to grow and care for. Give it a sunny location and well-draining soil. Some species of lavender are more cold-hardy than others, but most can tolerate cold temperatures down to 20°F (-6°C) or lower.

With proper care, lavender can be a long-lasting and fragrant addition to your garden or containers. It's also a good choice for gardeners who want to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Lavender, Lavender color, English Lavender, Lavender Flower, Spanish Lavender, Lavender bush, French Lavender, Types of Lavender, Lavandula, Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula stoechas

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, Lemon Balm is a bushy perennial with lemon-scented, wrinkled, ovate leaves borne in pairs on square stems. In summer, tiny, creamy-white or pale purple flowers appear in the leaf axils. It is part of the mint family and is known for its lemony aroma and flavor, which makes it a popular ingredient in teas, syrups, and cooking.

With regard to mosquito control, there is some evidence to suggest that lemon balm may have insect-repellent properties.

This plant is a vigorous grower and can spread rapidly to become a nuisance. You may want to plant it in containers. Hardy in USDA zones 3-7, lemon balm performs best in full sun to part shade in moist but well-drained soils.

Lemon Balm, Balm, Balm Leaf, Balm Oil Plant, Barm Leaf, Bee Balm, Dropsywort, Honey Plant, Pimentary, Sweet Balm, Sweet Mary, Tea Balm

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass is a tropical, clump-forming, evergreen grass with a richly aromatic lemon fragrance. It boasts narrow, leafy stalks with gracefully arching, strap-shaped, pale blue-green linear leaves. Lemongrass is native to tropical regions of Asia and is now cultivated in many other parts of the world. It is widely used in cooking, perfumery, and traditional medicine.

Lemongrass is believed to have mosquito-repellent properties. The strong citrus scent of lemongrass is thought to be unpleasant to mosquitoes, and it is sometimes used in natural insect repellent products.

Lemongrass tolerates a wide range of soils but thrives in organically rich loams with excellent drainage. It thrives in warm growing conditions, 69-100°F (18°C and 38°C), and high humidity. In cooler areas, it is best grown in a large container and overwintered indoors.

Lemon Grass, Citronella Grass, Serai, Squinant, Andropogon citratus

Marigold (Tagetes)

Marigold is a colorful and easy-to-grow annual plant that is commonly used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes. Marigold petals are edible and can be used as a natural food coloring or as a garnish. Marigold has also been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and wound-healing properties. Finally, Marigolds have insecticidal properties and are often planted near vegetable gardens to help control pests.

Marigolds naturally repel pests such as deer, rabbits, or mosquitoes since they find their odor offensive. They are also a good choice for gardeners who want to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Marigolds are easy-to-grow and add bright, cheerful colors to gardens and containers. They prefer full sun but can tolerate light shade. They grow well in well-draining soil.

French Marigold, African Marigold, Aztec Marigold, American Marigold, Big Marigold, American Saffron, Signet Marigold, Slender leaf Marigold, Striped Mexican Marigold

Mint (Mentha)

Mint (Mentha) is a genus of plants in the Lamiaceae family, which includes many species of aromatic herbs, such as peppermint, spearmint, and apple mint. Mint is well-known for its fresh, cool, and invigorating aroma and is widely used in cooking, cosmetics, and medicine.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, mint is also known for its insect-repelling properties and can be used to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay.

Growing mint is relatively easy, and it is a fast-spreading plant, so it is important to contain it in a pot or in a designated area of your garden to prevent it from spreading too much.

Mint plants are cold-hardy (USDA zones 5-11) and prefer part shade and light, moist soils.

Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Mentha, Herb, Aromatic Herb

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Nasturtium is a popular annual or short-lived perennial with creeping or sprawling stems that command attention in any landscape. The plant boasts a profusion of long-stalked, edible, funnel-shaped flowers that stand out against the pretty foliage of rounded, parasol-like leaves.

The strong, pungent scent of nasturtium flowers and leaves is said to be unappealing to mosquitoes and other insects.

Growing nasturtiums is relatively easy, and they are low-maintenance plants that do not require much attention. Tender perennials in USDA zones 9-11, they are grown as annual plants elsewhere. They perform best in full sun (with some afternoon shade in hot summer areas) in poor, well-drained soils.

Nasturtium, Common Nasturtium, Indian Cress, Mexican Cress, Peruvian Cress, Garden Nasturtium

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a perennial herb in the Lamiaceae family, which is native to the Mediterranean region. Oregano is widely used in cooking, especially in the Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, as well as in cosmetics, medicine, and as a natural insecticide.

Oregano oil is considered an excellent antiseptic and insect repellent. It has some active ingredients such as carvacrol, thymol, and α-terpinene reported to be highly effective in repelling mosquitoes.

Growing oregano is easy, and it can be grown in a variety of soils as long as there is good drainage. cold-hardy (USDA zones 4-8), oregano prefers sunny locations.

oregano, origanum vulgare, herb, aromatic herb

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a beautiful evergreen shrub with intensely aromatic, needle-like leaves and clusters of small, pale blue or white flowers. It has a strong, pungent, slightly bitter flavor and aroma, making it a popular herb in many types of cuisine. It is also used for its potential health benefits, including as a natural remedy for digestive issues, memory improvement, and reducing inflammation. In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, rosemary is also grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive appearance and fragrant leaves.

The pungent scent of rosemary repels flies and mosquitoes.

Rosemary is easy to grow and can be a great addition to a herb garden or grown in a container. Rosemary is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8-10, meaning it can survive winter temperatures as low as 10°F. It thrives in full sun in sandy, poor to moderately fertile, slightly acidic, well-drained soil.

Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, Herb, Aromatic Herb

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Tansy is a perennial herb in the daisy family that is commonly grown for its yellow, button-like flowers and strongly-scented fern-like leaves. The leaves are often harvested, dried, and used as potpourri.

In the past, tansy was used for a variety of medicinal purposes, including as a treatment for digestive issues and as a natural remedy for parasitic worms.

There is some evidence to suggest that tansy may have insect-repellent properties. Tansy has a strong, bitter odor that some people may find unpleasant. Tansy oil contains thujone, which makes the plant useful to repel insects, especially mosquitoes and fleas. However, thujone is toxic and should be used cautiously, as it is toxic if ingested in large amounts.

Tansy is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3-8 and performs well in full sun to part shade in well-drained soils.

Tansy, Buttons, Buttonweed, Ginger Plant, Golden Buttons, Hind-Heal, Immortality, Chrysanthemum vulgare

Thyme (Thymus)

Thyme is a dwarf, aromatic shrub primarily grown as a culinary herb in herb gardens. It forms a low cushion of branching, woody stems clothed with small, dark gray-green leaves. Spikes of small, whorled, white, or pink flowers appear in late spring to early summer.

Thyme has been traditionally used as a natural mosquito repellent due to its strong fragrance. Some studies have suggested that compounds in thyme oil have insecticidal properties. There is some evidence to suggest that Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus) may have insect-repellent properties and may help repel mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Thyme is an easy-to-grow herb that thrives in full sun and well-draining soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 5-9

Common Thyme, Garden Thyme, Pot-Herb Thyme, English Thyme, Tomillo


Allium is a genus of flowering plants that includes a variety of species, such as garlic, onions, leeks, and chives. These plants are known for their strong, pungent aroma and are widely used in cooking, especially in cuisines around the world.

Allium plants are also known for their insect-repelling properties and are often planted in gardens to keep insects at bay. The strong scent of allium is said to repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects, making it a natural and effective alternative to chemical insecticides.

Cold-hardy (USDA zones 3-9), Alliums prefer a sunny location and well-drained soil. With proper care, they can provide you with years of beautiful blooms or some delicious spices for cooking.

chives, allium schoenoprasum, herb, aromatic herb

Shutterstock, 123rf

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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